Republicans have tried to make House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) an issue in Tuesday’s special congressional election in Ohio. And now one Democratic group wants to do the same with embattled Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal PAC, on Thursday launched a five-figure digital ad bashing Republican candidate Troy Balderson for remaining mum on whether he supports Jordan’s intended run for Speaker of the House.
The ad, titled “Does Troy Balderson Stand with the Victims, or with Jim Jordan?,” references the mounting accusations that the conservative lawmaker turned a blind eye to sexual abuse that took place at Ohio State University during his tenure as assistant wrestling coach. Jordan has denied those claims.
This tactic reflects one employed by Republican groups like the Congressional Leadership Fund, a PAC closely aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who have sought to portray Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor—Balderson’s rival—as a kind of liberal stooge for Pelosi. Jordan does not have the same high name identification as Pelosi but perhaps is more widely known in Ohio.
O’Connor, like many Democratic candidates, has distanced himself from Pelosi. But during a recent MSNBC interview, when pressed continuously on the matter, O’Connor conceded he would “support whoever the Democratic Party puts forward.” That tepid soundbite was used in a subsequent CLF ad labelling the candidate “Dishonest Danny O’Connor.”
Days later, the Democratic candidate released his own ad calling for new leadership in both parties in Washington, once again distancing himself from Pelosi’s leadership.
The new ads connecting Balderson to Jordan come as the race has significantly tightened. A new Monmouth University poll found the contest effectively tied, while President Trump has added a last-minute campaign stop to the district for this Saturday evening.